A new Hight going into state meet for Douglas
IF YOU GO
WHAT: NIAA State Swimming & Diving Championships
WHERE: Diving starts 9 a.m. at Carson Valley Swim Center, Minden; swimming starts at noon, Carson Aquatic Facility, Carson City
WHEN: Saturday, 9 a.m.
Joe Sullivan and Justin Hight helped the Douglas High boys swimming and diving team achieve one goal last weekend when the Tigers captured their fourth straight team title at the Northern 4A Region Championships.
Now, the two Douglas seniors hope to add one more chapter to their high school career book Saturday at the NIAA 4A state meet. The state diving is being held at the Carson Valley Swim Center in Minden and swimming at the Carson Aquatic Facility in Carson City.
Sullivan and Hight were honored as co-recipients of the North’s Male Swimmer of Year after winning their individual events last Saturday at the Northern 4A Region finals. Sullivan won the 50 freestyle (school record 21.89) and 100 freestyle (personal record 48.40), while Hight won the 100 butterfly (53.63) and 100 backstroke (54.54).
Hight now has a special incentive after taking a break from his training between November and January.
“I just wanted to rethink my goals in swimming,” Hight said. “And it has helped because I’ve come back with new enthusiasm. Now, my personal goal is to just enjoy myself and enjoy the experience of going to state.”
Hight and Douglas teammate Josh Smithen went 1-2 in the 100 backstroke at the region meet — Hight won his region race in 54.54, followed by Smithen at 55.08 — and both were top-five finishers in the event last year at state (Hight placed third). McKay Mickelson of Legacy won the Sunset Region 100 backstroke in 52.15 and Mihail Amiorkov of Palo Verde was second in 52.34 (Amiorkov was the state runner-up in 2016). Matas Maksimaitis of Green Valley won the Sunrise Region race in 53.85.
In the 100 butterfly, Foothill’s Denver Renner won the Sunrise title (51.50) and Palo Verde’s David Miller won the Sunset title in 50.75.
Sullivan believes he can improve his freestyle times.
“I’m still tapering and there is going to be some great competition, so I’m thinking I can still go faster,” he said. “I expect both of those races to be very fast.”
That competition starts with Palo Verde junior Dylan Sweikert, the defending state 100 freestyle champion and last year’s runner-up in the 50. Sweikert won Sunset Region titles in both events last weekend with respective times of 22.03 and 48.19. In the Sunrise Region, Sean Marchewski of Coronado won the 100 freestyle (48.31) and Hunter Mecham of Green Valley won the 50 freestyle (21.78). Marchewski was a top-five finisher in both races at last year’s state meet, while Sullivan placed seventh in the 100 freestyle.
Palo Verde comes in as the four-time defending state boys team champion. The Panthers amassed 567 points to win their region championship on Saturday. Coronado scored 511 points to win the Sunrise championship and Douglas captured the Northern Region title with 424 points.
Douglas also has region championship relay teams advancing in the 200 freestyle (1:32.63) and 400 freestyle (3:17.70).
In the diving, the Tigers’ Alexander Laningham will have an opportunity to compete as a region champion in his hometown pool.
Two competitors to watch are defending champion Tim Newton of Coronado and Matthew Myers of Green Valley, last year’s state runner-up. Newton, a junior, and Myers, a sophomore, went 1-2 at the Sunrise meet with respective scores of 501.85 and 442.55.
On the girls side, Douglas had two state qualifiers: Cailey Tollman in the 500 freestyle (5:28.61) and the 200 medley relay (1:54.97).